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Quick-thinking photographer grabbed perfect Venus-Jupiter conjunction shot

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, 10:39 AM -

Monday morning was the best time to take in the rare splendour of the Jupiter-Venus conjunction - the closest the two planets will come all year.

You'll see plenty of great pictures of the conjunction on Twitter, taken just before dawn, but NASA's showcasing one from 2012 that still beats all of them.

That year, the conjunction was visible almost everywhere on Earth, and photographer Marek Nikodem in Poland managed to bag a once-in-a-lifetime shot:

Image: Marek Nikodem

Image: Marek Nikodem

That's Nikodem's daughter Nicola, shot as it she was holding both planets in the palms of ther hands, when they were separated in the sky by only three degrees.

Nikodem told the Weather Network that he'd taken pictures of the converging planets every day in the lead-up to the conjunction, and that fateful evening he travelled far outside of town to get a clear a shot as possible.

"When Venus and Juper were low over the horizon, delicate layers of clouds obscured the light of the planets," he told The Weather Network. 

He said the effect was to make the light from the planets more diffuse, thanks to ice crystals in the clods.

"The planets looked like two dazzling diamonds or lanterns illuminating the darkness. The view was amazing," Nikodem says. "I thought that would look lively with a young girl's silhouette against the starry sky, holding in her hands the glowing planets."

He said getting the shot was a challenge: It was very dark, more clouds were rolling in, and the planets were setting rapidly. Nevertheless, he says, he got it on the first try.

Ahead of this year's conjunction, NASA made this shot its Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Nikodem is the president of an amateur astronomy society in Poland. As you can imagine, he's an awesome photographer, and his photo site is worth checking out.


GOT A GOOD SHOT? Upload your pictures and videos here. They'll make it into our galleries, and we may feature them online and on TV.


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